THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
Immediate Release December 9, 2000
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
TO THE PRESS
AFTER UNVEILING OF DESIGN OF
THE WILLIAM J. CLINTON PRESIDENTIAL CENTER
The Roosevelt Room
12:50 P.M. EST
Q Mr. President, can you comment on the Florida Supreme Court
THE PRESIDENT: Well, it appears to me that they basically said we
ought to get an accurate count, and we have time to get one. I think
that's what all the American people want and I think that the more people
feel there was an accurate count, the more legitimacy will be conferred on
whoever the eventual winner is. So I think this is a positive development.
Q Do you think it gives Gore the advantage for the first time?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think -- I honestly don't know. I don't know
the answer to that. I think it shows that what the Supreme Court, in their
first decision, is what they meant. People voted and their vote -- and it
can be determined for whom they voted, their votes ought to be counted so
that the count will be accurate. And I think that's a positive thing.
But it's not clear to me -- I've got to go back, I've got to look at
the decision. I don't know are they going to go back through Palm Beach
again, because there are still a lot of under votes there. I don't know a
lot of the questions. I just know that the thrust was to get the most
accurate possible count, and I think that is something the American people
feel good about. And when it's done, I think it will help the eventual
winner, whether it's Governor Bush or Vice President Gore, to settle things
down and get on with the business of America.
So I think it will be positive.
Q Do you think all of this is going to deliver the people a
THE PRESIDENT: Not necessarily. I said before I think that we have
had -- we had two presidencies that went into the House of Representatives,
one produced John Quincy Adams, who only served one term; one produced
Thomas Jefferson, who started a dynasty that lasted 24 years.
We had two presidencies that were decided where a majority of the
votes went to one candidate, and the majority of the electoral votes went
to another. One was quite controversial, in 1876; the other just happened
in the course of things -- so I don't think you can draw any conclusions.
I think that the American people will be inclined to give a spirit of
goodwill in supporting it, and a grace period to the incoming President.
The country could hardly be in better shape, if we have to go through this
level of uncertainty. And if the members of the Congress will work in good
spirit, I think we can have four very good years.
So I wouldn't be very worried about it. I think that, truthfully, if
this whole process leads people to believe that every reasonable effort was
made to get an accurate count, then I think that will help the incoming
President. Then I think the country will rally behind the new President
and we'll go on with our business, the way we always do.
Q -- Mr. Putin --
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I talked to him yesterday and he told me he was
going to do it, and we've had several conversations about this. I'm very
appreciative of his action. Mr. Pope is not in good health and we need to
get him --
Q Does the U.S. have to give back anything?
THE PRESIDENT: There was no deal. We just had a discussion about it.
MR. SIEWERT: Thank you.
Q -- favorite building is?
THE PRESIDENT: -- coming here by the tens of thousands all the time,
and look at all these exhibits and everything and kind of being caught up
in it -- unless there was a lot of light in the building. But I didn't
want it to be a total energy guzzler and one that would be an environmental
nightmare. So we really worked hard on this and I think we've got a good
balance here. I think it's going to be a very good building.
Q Do you think the Vice President was thrown a life-line yesterday?
THE PRESIDENT: I think the Supreme Court decision, as I understand
it, just said we ought to have an accurate count. And I think that's how
the American people feel. And I know that's how the people in Florida must
feel. I mean, if you went to vote, you would want your vote counted.
So I think that's all. I don't know how it's going to come out; I
don't think anybody does. But I think when it's over, if we believe we've
done everything we could do to get an accurate count, that will confer
greater legitimacy on the result -- whichever one of them wins. And when
there is a final winner, then the rest of us ought to say, okay, let's give
this new President a chance to do the job. That's what I'll do, and I'll
do whatever I can to facilitate it.
END 12:55 P.M. EST